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$130 million gift from Michael Bloomberg and $75 million from Ronald Perelman help open new Performing Arts Center
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$130 million gift from Michael Bloomberg and $75 million from Ronald Perelman help open new Performing Arts Center

As the curtain finally raised on the newest theatre complex in the Big Apple, a beautiful, enormous marble cube now sparkles brilliantly close to Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan.

22 years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the magnificent $560 million Perelman Performing Arts Centre was formally opened on Wednesday, setting the stage for the World Trade Center’s newest and last public component.

At the ceremonial ribbon-cutting event, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, one of the project’s major financial sponsors, was attended by Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams.

The roughly 5,000 marble panel tiles that cover the 138-foot-tall structure, also known as PAC NYC, are backlit by chandeliers, allowing light to radiate in during the day and transform into a luminous beacon at night.

The 1,000-seat auditorium can be quickly converted into three main venues with a total of 62 various stage and audience configurations thanks to movable walls, seats, floor sections, and balconies.

As it sits over 13 separate MTA subway lines, Bloomberg, who contributed $130 million to the project, dubbed it a “engineering marvel.”

Programming for the first season kicks off with a five-night concert series with the subject of “refuge.”

The long-awaited launch of PAC NYC comes 20 years after the theatre complex was first conceived in an effort to entice visitors back to the area that had long been marred by tragedy and grief.

The most recent and last public component of the World Trade Centre is PAC NYC. “The memorial is here for people to come and grieve and pay their respects. The museum is for people to learn, be aware and never forget,” Khady Kamara, PAC NYC’s executive director, said in the lead-up to the unveiling.

“And the Performing Arts Center is here for people to celebrate life and really celebrate the resilience of New Yorkers and of the country.”

The glamorous structure is windowless by design in order to keep the buzz of theatergoers at a respectful distance from those paying tribute at the nearby 9/11 Memorial, architect Joshua Ramus said.

“I didn’t want to treat the memorial like a spectacle,” he said.

The center was built primarily with private donations, including Bloomberg and $75 million investor Ronald Perelman, whom the building is named for.

A general view of the Perelman Performing Arts Center

PAC NYC is encased in nearly 5,000 marble panel tiles that are backlit by chandeliers.

Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams joined former Mayor Mike Bloomberg — one of the project’s key financial backers — for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday.

 “There’s never been anything like it in the area, and it’s going to continue fueling the city’s comeback from the pandemic — just as the arts helped fuel our comeback after 9/11,” Bloomberg said.

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